Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent meeting was the first between Japanese and Chinese leaders in three years. The morning newspapers on November 8 reported on the four-point agreement between the governments of Japan and China that was put together for the purpose of this meeting.
Abe said he believed that a top-level meeting would certainly be beneficial to Japan and China. This meeting was held because, due to China’s worsening relationship with Japan, Japanese investments in China are falling sharply and more and more Japanese corporations are withdrawing from China. The Chinese bubble is in the midst of collapse, and the Chinese side simply could not allow the Japan-China relationship to deteriorate more than it has.
The agreement reads, “Both sides shared some recognition that, following the spirit of squarely facing history and advancing toward the future, they would overcome political difficulties that affect their bilateral relations.” The fourth point states, “Both sides recognized that they had different views as to the emergence of tense situations in recent years in the waters of the East China Sea, including those around the Senkaku Islands.” These statements have extremely variable meanings and seem open to interpretation, but China is the only country that is not squarely facing history. China claims that it has territorial rights to the Senkaku Islands, but there is absolutely no historical basis to this.
The worsening Japan-China relationship over the past few years was started when the Senkaku Islands were nationalized under the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Yoshihiko Noda administration. The U.S. returned administrative rights to the Senkaku Islands to Japan in 1972 together with Okinawa. The U.S. has said it is not concerned with these territorial rights, which created points at issue between Japan and China. The Senkaku Islands issue was shelved due to an agreement by both countries when diplomatic relations between Japan and China were normalized; China complains that Japan violated this agreement by nationalizing the islands. Shintaro Ishihara, who was the governor of Tokyo at that time, made an appeal for contributions for the privately funded purchase of the Senkaku Islands by Tokyo. If this had been accomplished, clearly actions would have been taken to emphasize Japan’s effective control, such as building harbors on the islands. If a harbor were constructed, China would have definitely insisted that Japan had violated the agreement to shelve the issue. After considering this thoroughly, Prime Minister Noda determined that the national government would purchase the islands. China took the opposite tactic and strengthened its criticism, saying the national government’s purchase violated the shelving agreement and creating a heightened sense of tension in the ocean near the Senkaku Islands.
This meeting between the Japanese and Chinese leaders – which has been continually refused since Abe became prime minister a second time two years ago – was held at this timing because the Chinese side was forced to do so out of necessity. China is currently facing many problems. The first is that transformed power relationships with its neighboring countries have forced it to change its principle of unilateral expansion. Up until now, China has vigorously asserted its dominion at the Spratly and Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. When the United States Armed Forces withdrew from the Philippines in 1995, China landed on Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands and plundered this island that had been the Philippines’ territory. However, this year the U.S. and Philippines signed an agreement approving the stationing of American troops in the Philippines once again. In this way, it became difficult for China to advance into the ocean by force as it has in the past.
The top-level meeting between Japan and China was held at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Beijing. American President Barack Obama, who was heartbroken after the crushing defeat in the midterm elections, also attended it. China gave him exceptional treatment as a state guest, putting on a performance to show the U.S. and China as the world’s two major powers.
The Chinese bubble economy is breaking down, and one cannot hope now for the economic growth of the past. Demonstrations for democratization in Hong Kong, centered on students, seem like a second Tiananmen Square Incident. Meanwhile, terrorism by Muslims is frequently occurring in the Xinjiang-Uygur Autonomous Region. Right now, maintaining domestic public order is urgent business for the Chinese government, and it is being asked to review its line concerning the economy and foreign policy. It is difficult to say that Xi Jinping, the seventh president, still holds real power. There is still a three-way power struggle between him and Jiang Zemin, the fifth president, and Hu Jintao, the sixth president, in which they are at times allies and at times enemies. Xi Jinping said he would expose corruption, and started by smoking out the high government officials in the Jiang Zemin faction. It is also rumored that he is in an all-out confrontation with Hu Jintao. The circumstances are severe both inside and outside of China. Perhaps China decided that, if points of compromise cannot be found regarding the relationship with Japan, it would become impossible to maintain the Xi Jinping system itself. Due to these circumstances, it seems the weakened Chinese side drew closer to Japan to hold this top-level meeting.
For the meeting, the Chinese side submitted conditions such as Abe not visiting Yasukuni Shrine and the Japanese government recognizing the strife related to the dominion of the Senkaku Islands. However, Japan spurned these conditions. It is the Chinese state of affairs that would worsen if a top-level meeting were not held at an early stage, so there was no reason for Japan to be flustered. The greatest benefit of the Japan-China relationship is economic relations, but one should not make political compromises for the sake of the economy. Abe confidently stood his ground on this, for which he should be highly praised. The Japanese government must place maximum priority on the Japanese economy.
Right now, the item that causes the greatest concern is that economic recovery has not gone as expected after the consumption tax increase. The additional monetary easing implemented by the Bank of Japan on October 31 – commonly referred to as round two of the “Kuroda Bazooka” – caused stock prices to rise and the yen to weaken all at once. The results were austere; the real GDP fell by 0.4% compared to the most recent period (July-September), and the annual rate of interest declined by 1.6%. But this is a substantial recovery compared to the April-June period, which was negative 7.3%. Stock prices have doubled due to Abenomics, more than one million people have been hired, and consumption has also increased. However, investment in housing fell by 6.7% compared to the previous period, a significant decline. The cause of this is the recoil against last-minute demand and rapidly rising construction costs, resulting in fewer houses for sale.
The 2% consumption tax increase that was scheduled for October 1, 2015 was already made into a bill by a tripartite agreement between the DPJ, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and New Komeito Party (NKP) under the DPJ government. If it were postponed, Abe would be bashed by the media as a prime minister who cannot accomplish what had been decided. Considering this, Abe bluffed that the House of Representatives would be dissolved if the tax increase were postponed for 1.5 years as advocated for by portions of the NKP and LDP. When he traveled overseas, the media willfully fomented the idea of this dissolution. All newspapers and television channels reported on the dissolution every day, and nothing else was talked about. I felt that dissolving the Lower House – for which there is no just cause – at this time in December would cause the voter turnout to decline. This would be because the NKP and Communist Party (party organizations that will benefit from this) supported and instigated the snap election. Hoping to avoid this, I sent the following notifications from the principal to the members of the Shoheijuku school.
The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper and other media outlets are instigating dissolution with no great cause. Similarly, the DPJ gained political power in the past not because it was truly victorious, but because the media inflamed the citizens using the buzzword of “change.” The media is recently trying to force this dissolution to cause the LDP to destroy itself and to prevent the Abe administration from being a long-term government. The real GDP from the July-September period was announced as minus 1.6%, but raising the consumption tax again or putting it off are both unrelated to the issue of dissolution. There would be no advantages for the LDP to carry out this dissolution, which is not supported by 70% of the citizens. The ruling party would become unable to hold two thirds of the seats in the House of Representatives, which would make it harder to execute political measures. Moreover, dissolution at this timing would simply result in the LDP being blamed for the failures of Abenomics and concealing suspicions. By all rights, dissolution should be carried out at the most advantageous timing. Knowing the party will be defeated via dissolution and yet doing so anyway should only be done when there is a just cause for transferring political power. There are many Shoheijuku lecturers and special students who are National Diet members. It is necessary to inspect the organization with a constant awareness of elections and carry out simulations (disaster-prevention exercises), but I hope you will act with composure without investing funds in election preparations due to this atmosphere of impending dissolution.
At first, the snap election was a bluff to create party solidarity in order to postpone the consumption tax increase. However, the media has created an uproar about this; if Abe does not dissolve the Lower House at this point, he will instead be regarded as a fainthearted prime minister who cannot make decisions. He has been forced into a corner, with the threat of the government being seen as a lame duck. A general election with no just cause would result in a lowered voter turnout. Political parties with stable organized support, such as the NKP and Communist Party, would gain more seats. It can also be considered that the NKP’s strategy to sever the trend towards a double election is behind this media tumult. Perhaps Abe already knew the GDP would deteriorate more than expected before his foreign travels. There was concern since the consumption tax was raised by 3% this April, but the GDP has been even lower than expected. The consumption tax increase that was agreed upon by the three parties during the DPJ regime was postponed for this reason, and it is thought that Abe was intending to raise the consumption tax himself after seeing the outcome of Abenomics. If he had decided to dissolve the Lower House, he would need to make an appeal regarding the consumption tax increase 1.5 years from now, and must conclusively show the past results of Abenomics. The media will probably expand its negative campaign and bash the Abe government. To support Abe, the Shoheijuku hopes that backing will be provided by The Party for Future Generations and The Sunrise Party – conservative parties that support the Abe administration from the right.
All nuclear power generation in Japan is halted today, which is connected to the terrible way the DPJ government handled the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station accident after the Great East Japan Earthquake. However, this winter it is anticipated that Kyushu Electric Power Company’s Sendai Nuclear Power Plant will be restarted with the agreement of the local government and governor of Kagoshima Prefecture. All nuclear plants have been continually stopped since September of last year due to the impacts of the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi, but this will change for the first time in one year and several months. Nuclear power generation was stopped because of the media, which fomented anxiety according to a stratagem by the major oil companies. Because of the cheap yen, the fuel expenses for thermal power generation have only increased. Japan has established the world’s strictest standard, so nuclear power plants that conform to this standard should be restarted in a somber fashion. The left wing opposes this, saying safety has not been ensured. However, these powers have never approved the existence of nuclear power in the first place, and are demanding extreme safety just for the purpose of dissension. Nothing is 100% safe. How many people have died in the past when mining and using coal, oil, and natural gas? I suspect the number of casualties is tens of thousands times more than nuclear power.
Because the nuclear power plants are continually shut down, electric power fees are increasing and more carbon dioxide emissions are being produced through thermal power generation. This cannot be good. Japan should export its excellent nuclear technologies throughout the world and block the spread of nuclear plants made in South Korea and China, which offer doubtful safety. In 2009, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama declared an international public promise to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25%. The plan at that time was to increase the ratio of electric power produced via nuclear generation – which was 28.5% in 2010 – to 50%. However, after the nuclear accident the DPJ switched to a policy of zero nuclear power generation. I believe Abe should set forth a policy of making Japan into a leading country in the field of nuclear power generation, with the objective of 50% once again.
Japan is a global leader in the field of advanced sciences and technologies. At present, it sells these sciences and technologies at low prices, and then is made to buy the products that incorporate them at extremely high prices. This applies to passenger planes, weapons, and electronics like batteries and iPhones. Japan should sell its technologies at higher prices. Its national objective should be creating a business model in which it exports nuclear power plants and domestically produced weapons at high prices and controls the countries that buy them with maintenance technologies – just like the U.S. does – to increase earnings. In this way, Japan could use its technological strength for partial control of other countries’ energy and military power. Japan must make efforts for the effective utilization of its advanced technologies.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Nagoya Aerospace Systems Works (which is descended from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Nagoya Aircraft Works, which created the Mitsubishi A6M Zero) will soon utilize its advanced sciences and technologies to conduct the first test flight of the Advanced Technological Demonstrator-X (nicknamed the “Shinshin”), a prototype model to develop Japan’s first domestically produced stealth fighter. The Shinshin is equipped with stealth abilities, via carbon filters and electromagnetic wave absorption materials, and does not easily show up on enemy radar. It is also light due to factors such as the usage of carbon-reinforced plastic. The engine was developed by IHI Corporation. In this and other ways, it is essential that Japan develop original weapons and other items. Japan must urgently augment its military force so as to not create a power vacuum in East Asia, the threshold between the expanding China and withdrawing U.S. By possessing offensive weapons that leverage its advanced sciences and technologies, Japan should reinforce its deterrence and maintain a balance of power. In this way, it must prevent war from occurring in East Asia. Of course Japan should maintain its friendly relations with the U.S., but it should also revise the constitution and carry out the domestic production of Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) weapons and other items so that it can protect itself. If nothing else, Japan must launch its own GPS satellites that cover East Asia and create an original computer system and Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system for the JSDF. I hope that Japan will make the JSDF into an independent army, revise the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty so it is an equal treaty of mutual benefit, and become a truly independent nation.
Chinese fishing boats are advancing on the Ogasawara Islands in great force to poach red coral. To say nothing of Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), these fishing boats are entering Japan’s territorial waters because they know the Japanese side will respond in a lenient way. I believe Japan should warn boats that intrude into its territorial waters, and warning shots should be fired if they do not leave. If they still do not withdraw, a response should be made even to the level of sinking the ships. If the Japan Coast Guard sunk even one Chinese fishing boat that had violated its territorial waters, I suspect these fishing boat groups would vanish just like baby spiders scattering in all directions. It is natural for an independent, sovereign nation to defend its territorial waters and dominion. Furthermore, other countries have no right to criticize the prime minister of an independent, sovereign nation for going anywhere within his country. The Japanese media makes a fuss and states that the prime minister cannot visit Yasukuni Shrine because of what foreign countries say. But this issue is an uproar caused by the Japanese media; if the prime minister visited practically every month, people would cease talking about this topic.
Many Japanese National Diet members are in the pro-U.S. or pro-China factions – the pro-Japan Diet members who place priority on Japan’s national interests are the minority. We must increase their numbers. The Sunrise Party and The Party for Future Generations will play a central role in increasing the pro-Japan National Diet members. The Abe LDP is attacked by foreign countries as being ultraconservative, but if The Sunrise Party and The Party for Future Generations increased their influence as two parties even farther right than the LDP, the LDP would be seen as the middle of the road with the DPJ and Communist Party to the left. As a measure to increase the number of pro-Japan National Diet Members, The Sunrise Party should set forth a policy to endorse candidates of any party that meet its standard in electoral districts with none of its candidates. The endorsement standard is as follows.
1. Placing priority on the economy, Japan should aim to become the world’s second-largest economic power once again. 2. With nuclear power as the focus of energy policy, Japan should aim to provide 50% of electric power via nuclear generation. 3. Taxes should be used to encourage the revival of the extended-family system, and Japan should be made into an extended-family nation centered on the emperor. 4. An independent constitution should be enacted and Japan should gain the defense capabilities that are natural for a truly independent state. 5. Japan should aim to become the top country in the world in the fields of medical care and cutting-edge sciences and technologies. 6. Japan should aim to become a tourism-focused nation. 7. Education and the media should be normalized, with the aim of reviving Japan as a country that is worthy of pride.
Aiming to become the world’s second-largest economic power is particularly important. China is using military power for forced annexations in regions such as Mongolia, Tibet, and East Turkistan, but it will split apart some day like the former Soviet Union. It is fully possible that Japan can gain the position of second-largest economic power once again. When the number of pro-Japan National Diet members is increased and The Sunrise Party and The Party for Future Generations have enhanced their strength, the current LDP-NKP alliance should be abolished and the LDP should create a new alliance with the new, conservative parties (The Sunrise Party and The Party for Future Generations). The LDP-NKP alliance agreement says no LDP candidates will be nominated in electoral districts where the NKP is running, which is supported by 42% of the LDP. Yet this steals away opportunities to gain votes from LDP proponents. To create an alliance between the LDP and new, conservative parties, conservative candidates should run in place of the LDP in all electoral districts lacking LDP candidates to defeat the NKP candidates and abolish the LDP/NKP alliance.
The media’s strategy has brought about a snap election for the purpose of ensuring the Abe LDP does not become a long-term government. Considering that there is no opposition party with a chance of winning, it seems like the LDP will put up a good fight and that Abe will once again be chosen as party president by default in the September 2015 LDP presidential election. Perhaps that is the real reason Abe decided to dissolve the Lower House.
Abe has created a stronger internal party foundation via elections. One can say now is the time for him to welcome Russian President Vladimir Putin, work to resolve the pending question of restoring Russo-Japanese diplomatic relations, and think of political measures to keep balance between China and the U.S.1:30 a.m., November 25, 2014 (Tuesday)